Botanical Name: Vouacapoua americana
Species: V. americana
Synonyms: Andira aubletii Benth.
Common Names: Wacapou, Acapu, Bruinhart; Vacapon; Black Heart; Acapu (Brazil); Brown Heart; Amazon Wood; Wacapou; Sarebebeballi; Partridge Wood
Habitat: Vouacapoua americana is native to northern S. America – northern Brazil, Surinam, French Guinea. It grows in primary rainforests, mainly in areas that are not seasonally inundated. Found especially on forested slopes.
Vouacapoua americana is a slender, semi deciduous evergreen tree growing usually about 35 m tall. It has a roundish crown and a straight, cylindrical, not buttressed trunk that can be up to 90 cm in diameter.
*Flowering dry season: January – March
*Flowering plant monocious
*Pollination insects: like bees, wasps, small beetles and hover flies etc.
*Fruiting period wet season: April, May and June
*Fruit; length (cm) 5.5-7.2 x 2.4-4.0 cm
*Fruit petiole; length (cm) approx 2 cm
*Seed; length (cm) 4.9 x 3.4
A decoction of the wood is used as a wash for body aches caused by overwork. A decoction of the bark is drunk to treat malaria. A decoction of the leaves is used as a wash for fevers.
The heartwood is dark olive to dark chocolate; it is clearly demarcated from the 18 – 30mm wide, cream-coloured sapwood. Numerous fine lines of parenchyma, which are initially lighter brown in colour but which eventually turn nearly black, make the wood unusually attractive. The texture is uniformly coarse; the grain straight to slightly roey; the lustre low; no distinctive odour or taste is present in seasoned wood. The wood is hard, heavy, dense and very durable in contact with the soil, being highly resistant to decay and insect attack. There are conflicting reports regarding its resistance to toredo attack in sea water, though it is generally considered fairly resistant. It is somewhat slow to season, with only a slight risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. It has a fairly high blunting effect, so stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; despite its high density, however, the wood is only moderately difficult to work and is generally said to have good working qualities; smooth surfaces are obtained in sawing and planing, but the coarse grain causes some rough and torn grain in boring and mortising; nailing and screwing are good so long as holes are pre-bored; gluing is correct for interior purposes only. The wood is used for making high class furniture, cabinet making, turnery, flooring, wheelwright’s work, beams, general construction, joinery, panelling, railway crossties, posts, rising and gunwales of boats, and general construction.
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